Fortuna Man Missing Since February; Police Seek Public’s Assistance

Picture of Nick Vigil [All photographs provided by Debbie Frisiello, Nick’s mother]

Nick Vigil, a 38-year-old man who lived in Fortuna, California, has been missing since late February. On the morning of the 25th, Vigil left his mother Debbie Frisiello’s Fortuna home without indicating where he was going and never came back.

Frisiello was told by a close friend of Vigil that he was supposed to go to his house that day to “pick up a check.” The friend grew concerned when he never arrived. Frisiello said her son’s last known movements on February 25 was a cell phone ping that indicated he was in the vicinity of Blue Lake’s Titlow Road.

Frisiello explained that her son was a regular at Blue Lake and Bear River Casinos. After surveillance footage and interviews were conducted, Frisiello maintained there was no indication Vigil visited either of those establishments the day he disappeared.  According to Fortuna Police Department’s Lieutenant Matt Eberhardt and Detective Ryan Richardson, both casinos have been contacted and fully cooperated with the investigation. 

Nick Vigil’s truck photographed on the evening it was found abandoned in the Weitchpec area.

The night Vigil went missing, Frisiello reports that the gray 2006 Ford F250 her son left driving that morning was discovered abandoned in Weitchpec, California by a forester working in the area. In hopes of finding the owner of the vehicle, the forester posted images of the abandoned truck on the Facebook Group “Weitchpec/Down River Community,” according to Frisiello (as of this time, that post is no longer accessible). From Frisiello’s understanding, the forester passed the vehicle several times over the following days and saw signs the vehicle was getting burglarized. 

Another picture of Nick Virgil’s truck taken just days after it was found abandoned.

Fortuna Police Department’s Lieutenant Eberhardt described their agency collaborating with Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a thorough ground search of both Vigil’s property in Weitchepec and the site where law enforcement learned in mid-April that his vehicle had been abandoned Debbie Frisiello, Vigil’s mother, said her son’s property showed signs of being ransacked or broken into in her son’s absence.

According to Vigil’s mother, Debbie Frisiello, Local Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Activist Jesse Armstrong volunteered to assist her in navigating her son’s disappearance. “Jesse has helped me speak with the police and let me talk to him about my son,” she explained. Armstrong said his primary goal in working with any family of the missing is to “support them, do search and rescue, and bring their loved one home.” 

Nick Vigil on an international trip. Debbie Frisiello, Nick’s mother, explained all photographs do not reflect the nearly 50 pounds of weight loss he had accomplished before going missing.

In the days before his disappearance, Vigil had been in Las Vegas for a mixed-martial-arts event and had won a significant amount of money, his mother explained. She remembered that he got home around 3:00 am on the night of February 24 and was out the door early the next morning. 

Debbie Frisiello said that when she last saw her son, he was wearing “Nike black shoes, black, short socks, khaki pocketed shorts, a black belt, a white t-shirt, and a chocolate brown hoodie, black backpack with his laptop, his keys to everything.” She described her son as 6’ 1’’, weighing 250 lbs, and having brown eyes. She added that he shaves his head and doesn’t have a beard or a mustache.

Debbie Frisiello explained she is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to Nick’s return. “I think about him every day. He is my best friend. I just know somebody knows something about what happened that day,” she said.

Fortuna Police Department’s Lieutenant Eberhardt and Detective Richardson stated that they “could use the public’s assistance in the case.” They encouraged “anybody that has seen or heard from him, maybe somebody who saw him at a gas station, a store, potentially anyone that might know him” to reach out to their agency. 

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